Minister of Tourism, Prasanna Ranatunga says that the airport and health authorities have taken a number of special measures since yesterday (17) on the instructions of H.E. President, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to reduce passenger congestion at the Katunayake Airport.

At present, a large number of passengers including tourists arrive in the country daily through the Katunayake Airport. There had been complaints of delays in obtaining health declarations from such arriving passengers and the President had instructed them to look into the matter immediately and take immediate action.

Accordingly, a special discussion was held at the Katunayake Airport yesterday (17) under the patronage of the Minister of Tourism, Prasanna Ranatunga. The discussion was attended by Director General of Health Services, Mr. Asela Gunawardena, Controller of Immigration and Emigration, Customs officials as well as Major General (Retired), Mr. G.A Chandrasiri, Chairman of the Airport and Aviation Services Company and other airport officials.

At present, the airport authorities have provided the necessary facilities to the passengers, including tourists arriving in Sri Lanka through the Katunayake Airport, to complete their health declarations through the online system. They can complete that health declaration by visiting the airport webpage. Following the discussion, Minister of Tourism, Prasanna Ranatunga and the officials inspected the relevant counters and stayed there for nearly two hours to see if any immediate changes could be made.

With the opening of the country after the Covid pandemic and the relaxation of health guidelines, the number of daily passenger operations at the Katunayake Airport has increased. About 12,000 daily passenger operations take place at the airport. There have been 746,085 passenger operations at the Katunayake Airport since January. Of these, 409,496 were arrivals and 336,589 were departures.

The passenger capacity of the Katunayake Airport is 6 million annually. Prior to the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, its annual passenger traffic was over 10 million. Minister of Tourism, Prasanna Ranatunga also revealed that after the completion of the development projects currently being implemented at the airport, its passenger operations could be increased to 15 million annually.

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